Monday, October 16, 2006

The next hard(ware) step for DRM


Today’s digital rights management systems are still fairly crude, according to Brad Hunt, chief technology officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, speaking at last week’s Digital Home Developers Conference in San Jose. That’s because they protect premium content by managing whether or not you can make a copy of it. Tomorrow’s DRMs will be smarter, letting users register the set of devices they own that live on their home network so that paid-for content can be shared among them.

Hunt and others rallied around so-called link protection technologies such as DTCP-IP and Windows Media DRM for Network Devices that protect and manage copies today via software. Upcoming DRM interfaces like the Secure Video Processor work could open up the door to sharing content on across a user’s devices thanks to hardware-backed techniques.

“We are just starting to see chip sets for this emerge,” said Hunt. “We want to move from copy management to license management. We think that’s the future of content distribution,” he added. --rbm

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